Trading Standards Solicitors in Hounslow
Whether you’re faced with a Trading Standards investigation or you are having enforcement action taken against you for breaching consumer law, our experienced solicitors can help.
Trading Standards has wide powers to investigate your business and take enforcement action if necessary. This can be incredibly daunting and frustrating, particularly for small businesses. However, it is vitally important to comply with Trading Standards law for the safety of your employees and customers. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines, long-term damage to your business, and even a prison sentence.
We can provide clear, understandable advice about your responsibilities under Trading Standards law. We can assist during investigations and will take steps to protect your legal rights, avoid disruption to your business, and help you comply with any orders efficiently and cost-effectively.
How our Trading Standards solicitors in Hounslow can help
We provide specialist advice and representation across all types of Trading Standards matters, including:
- Providing support during investigations
- Liaising with Trading Standards on your behalf
- Providing advice and guidance on implementing Trading Standards orders and recommendations
- Attending interviews under caution with you
- Making representation to Trading Standards against taking enforcement action against you
- Defending you during any civil or criminal proceedings
- Advising you in relation to any Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 recovery action, for example, Freezing Orders and Restraint Orders
What is Trading Standards?
Trading Standards is an overarching term to describe organisations and departments with powers to enforce Trading Standards laws, including:
- Local authority departments
- The Food Standards Agency
- The Office of Fair Trading
- National Trading Standards
- The Competition and Markets Authority
Such organisations have powers to take civil and criminal investigative and enforcement action to tackle breaches of consumer law.
Officers for Trading Standards organisations enforce the law across a vast range of sectors, including:
- Age restricted sales
- Food standards and safety
- Consumer products and safety
- Banking, finance and consumer credit
- Fair trading, such as labelling, terms and conditions and descriptions of goods
- Intellectual property
- Money laundering
- Mass marketing scams
- Doorstep crime
- Health and cosmetics
- Weights and measures
What powers do Trading Standards have?
Trading Standards officers (often called “enforcers”) have powers under Schedule 5 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to investigate and take enforcement action in respect of breaches of consumer law. This is a broad piece of law which combines powers previously held under many pieces of consumer legislation.
Trading Standards powers include:
- The power to observe the carrying on of your business
- The power to require information and documents
- The power to purchase products
- The power to enter commercial premises with 2 days’ written notice
- The power to enter commercial premises without notice, for example, where there is reason to think you have broken the law
- The power to enter premises with a warrant (by force if necessary)
- The power to inspect products and test equipment
- The power to seize goods
- The power to seize documentation
- The power to break open containers
There are also criminal offences under Schedule 5, including:
- The offence of purposely obstructing a Trading Standards officer
- The offence of purporting to act as an officer
Trading Standards enforcement action
Trading Standards have a wide range of civil and criminal enforcement powers against individuals and businesses which break the law. Enforcement action includes:
- Improvement notices – requiring you to remedy a breach of consumer law
- Prohibition notices – to prevent you from continuing activities which breach the law
- Seizure of goods – for example, to remove counterfeit products from the market
- Prosecution – for example, for fraud, supplying age restricted products to minors, licencing offences, or food safety offences
- Proceeds of crime recovery action – under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to recover money made from criminal activities
When might Trading Standards visit me?
Trading Standards may visit your business if they have received a complaint or undertaken a risk-based assessment. Some Trading Standards organisations carry out routine inspections depending on the nature of your business and the kind of products and services it offers.
Is Trading Standards allowed to close my business?
Trading Standards does not have the power to directly close your business down. However, they may use various enforcement powers and instigate criminal prosecutions which may severely damage your business and potentially lead to its closure.
Trading Standards criminal prosecutions
If you’re suspected of a criminal offence, Trading Standards may invite you to interview “under caution” at the police station or local authority offices. You should never attend a voluntary interview without first consulting a specialist solicitor as anything you say could be used in a decision to charge you or as evidence during a prosecution.
If you’re suspected or charged with a Trading Standards criminal offence, our team includes highly experienced criminal defence solicitors who can provide realistic advice and accompany you to interviews.
Why choose our Trading Standards solicitors in Hounslow?
At Lovell Chohan, we have a multitude of experience providing advice to individuals and businesses across all aspects of Trading Standing investigations and enforcement action.
We always seek to achieve the best outcome possible in the circumstances of your case. We’ll listen carefully to your concerns and provide clear, simple, tailored advice about how to cooperate with Trading Standards and effectively comply with any orders or requirements.
We are recognised for our expert level of advice and representation in Trading Standards criminal prosecutions with the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation. We’re also accredited in Lexcel for our excellent client care and legal practice management.
As a firm, we pride ourselves on our accessibility. Our team speak a broad range of languages, including Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, French, and Welsh. We’re happy to arrange interpreters for speakers of other languages and have a built-in induction T-Loop system for people who are hard of hearing.
Lovell Chohan is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).